NEWS | Feb. 26, 2021

Maryland Air Guard helps out at stadium vaccination site

By Master Sgt. Christopher Schepers 175th WG - Maryland Air National Guard

BALTIMORE – The Maryland Air National Guard supported the opening of a COVID-19 mass vaccination site at M&T Bank Stadium Feb. 25.

In addition to the sites at Six Flags in Bowie and the Baltimore Convention Center, Maryland residents will now be able to schedule appointments at the 55,000-square-foot stadium site in Baltimore.

For 18 days, 45 Airmen from the 175th Wing and their community partners set up the site on the club level of the stadium. Initially, the site will provide vaccinations for 250 people, with a goal of 2,000 daily vaccinations as early as the week of Feb. 28.

“University of Maryland had a vision, and we helped make it a reality,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Charles Wetzelberger, deputy site coordinator and a planner with the Maryland National Guard’s Joint Force Headquarters. “That is what the men and women of the 175th Wing do. They are incredible people, amazing work ethic, and they have done everything that I have ever asked for.”

Five-hundred members of the MDNG are supporting Maryland’s COVID-19 response from Western Maryland to the Eastern Shore and everywhere in between.

In addition to providing mobile vaccination support teams at local health department vaccination sites and testing support at COVID-19 test sites across the state, Airmen and Soldiers are providing logistical and administrative support at mass vaccination sites.

“You can tell by their manner, their actions, their deeds that they are serving something larger than themselves,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Jeffrey Woolford, deputy state air surgeon with the 175th Medical Group. “When they put their uniform on … they are going to take care of their neighbors. There is purpose to the long hours; there is meaning behind the sacrifice because we realize that every vaccination is a new opportunity and a new way out of our current COVID crisis.”

U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Janeen Birckhead, lead of the Vaccine Equity Task Force and assistant adjutant general of the Maryland Army National Guard, and leaders from the University of Maryland Medical System and the Maryland Stadium Authority were also onsite for the opening.

Members of the Maryland Air National Guard will be working at the Baltimore stadium site for as long as they are needed.

“I feel honored to be a part of this mission and appreciate the opportunity to help in any way I can,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Clarissa Henderson, assigned to the 175th Forces Support Squadron. “It’s remarkable to see people of different backgrounds come together and take on this mission.”